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Jennifer Meyer is a doting parent of two babies: three-month-old Ruby, who often wakes up in the early morning, and Jennifer Meyer Jewelry, which at over a year old is growing with the launch this month of a full second collection.
Featuring 15 styles, the line introduces customers to different themes, including luck, animals, stars and hearts. Still, a devotee will find plenty familiar, as the jewelry continues to concentrate on nature, a motif in which Meyer succeeded with her signature fern-like leaf pendant.
“What do I find that people enjoy buying in my collection?” Meyer said she asked herself while designing the line. “I really find that animals are something that a lot of people can relate to.”
Even her father, Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios, is drawn to animals. He is so fascinated with mythical dragons that he had a black-and-white one tattooed on his back (he also has a tattoo of his granddaughter’s name) and encouraged Jennifer to put dragons in her collection.
Meyer was schooled in enamel jewelry at a young age by her grandmother, Edith, who recently died just before her 87th birthday, and takes fatherly advice seriously: She chose to add a dragon to her jewelry. Meyer researched tattoo magazines to determine the dragon she wanted — it is sleek and small with thin legs, to hang stylishly on a chain.
Elephants and lizards are other members of the animal kingdom that pop up in the latest collection, the latter in bracelets and the former on necklaces. To symbolize luck, the line features keys fused with numbers and a circular pendant with several items, including the number 13, a wishbone, a horseshoe and an elephant. The Star of David makes an imprint in necklaces, and hearts are the central element of a limited Valentine’s Day selection that also is focused on neck jewelry, although there are stud earrings, as well.
Meyer works with only 18-karat gold in white, yellow and rose. As her jewelry designing has matured, precious stones have played a larger role in pieces, with emeralds, diamonds and rubies among the most widely used.
“It was really important to have it be heavy and gorgeous gold and for the stones to be great,” she said.
Meyer’s high quality standards mean her jewelry isn’t cheap, retailing from $125 to $11,000. Affordability is a concern, and she is trying to bring down the price a bit by offering stud wishbone earrings that she said are for “everyone from my 13-year-old sister” to women her age, 29.
Her jewelry company is not guided by an overarching strategy. “There is really no method to my madness,” she said.
However, Meyer carefully complements items that have sold well to give retailers options. With her hammered bangle hoop earrings selling well, she broadened the hammered assortment with rings and bracelets and followed a similar formula with her thin, stackable pieces. (Meyer wears one of the thin rings with a ruby for her daughter.)
Loyalty to retailers that have supported her line is paramount. Meyer remains in a small number of stores, including Barneys New York, Maxfield, Kaviar and Kind, and Holt Renfrew. Sales have quadrupled since Jennifer Meyer Jewelry’s first season in fall 2005, and the line was a top seller at Holt Renfrew during the holiday season. To avoid competing with retailers domestically, Japan and Europe are Meyer’s next retailing frontiers.
Kathy Azarmi Rose, co-owner of Kaviar and Kind in Los Angeles, said the appeal of Meyer’s jewelry is its classic, timeless quality.
“When we saw the stuff, the first reaction that I had is that I need to have one of each item for myself,” she said.
Azarmi Rose wore a pearl-encrusted Meyer-designed leaf with a diamond branch to her wedding last year in Yosemite National Park.
The leaf, which took a year to create, about nine molds and almost all of the several thousand dollars she had saved to start her jewelry line, is what has brought Meyer the most recognition. Jennifer Aniston wore it in “The Break-Up,” and Meyer gets teary recounting when she saw the movie for the first time.
“You really make this stuff for people to love it,” she said. “When they do, it feels really good.”
Meyer will get more screen time in May when a locket of hers appears in “Spider-Man 3,” which stars her fiancé, Tobey Maguire. Other than the movie, Meyer has no promotion planned.
“My company is very manageable right now,” she said. “I don’t want it to get bigger than me.”
Eventually, Meyer expects to expand the company — home decor could be on the horizon. She’s rebuffed investors, but admitted she tells them, “I know where you are. I’m coming to you when I’m ready.”
After all, Meyer has decided the jewelry business is a long-term gig.
“It was definitely a question for me when I had a baby, because I wondered how I would feel about it,” she said. “But this [jewelry] is my baby, too. This is different, but it’s all mine.”